Monday, May 25, 2009

Towel Day

Don't panic! Today is Towel Day, a day set aside in memory of Douglas Adams. I'll be carrying my towel with me. Yes, I know it's the observance for Memorial Day, and I'll be eating BBQ to celebrate; but Towel Day must needs receive its due. There's a Facebook event.

from Adams' work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as quoted at the Wikipedia Towel Day site:
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very, very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.


  1. 23? I see we are separated by denominational differences. I affirm 42.

  2. What a brilliant idea... and would you believe I'm sitting here reading this with a towel around my neck. Okay, so it was because I've just been for a run and am cooling down, but surely this is a gorgeous coincidence? :)

  3. Does anyone have any idea where that photograph was taken?

  4. Innsbruck, Austria, 2005, according to Wikipedia Commons, which is where the photo came from.